importance of playground maintenance

Why is playground maintenance important?

Playgrounds are a child’s place to run wild, explore, and seek fun and adventure. Therefore, we have a responsibility to keep them safe. Performing regular maintenance on your playground will help ensure the equipment our children are playing on is safe.

Three Reasons to Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Playground

Keep Children Safe

Did you know that over half of the accidents on the playground occur due to the lack of playground maintenance? Whether it be from a loose nut or bolt, protrusion, or poor surfacing, lack of playground maintenance could result in an injured child. Common playground-related injuries may include minor cuts and bruises to fractures, concussions, dislocations, broken bones, sprains, and more.

Playground injury statistics:

  • Over 200,000 children a year are treated in the emergency room due to playground-related injuries
  • Playground injuries include:
    • Fractures
    • Sprains
    • Concussions
    • Broken bones
    • Dislocations
    • Cuts
    • Bruises
    • More
  • More injuries on playground occur on playground climbers than any other playground equipment
  • Around 70% of playground injuries involve falls to the playground surfacing because reports suggest 25% of public playgrounds have adequate surfacing

Protect Your Investment

We don’t have to tell you that purchasing and installing new playground equipment comes at a large expense. This includes not only the playground equipment, but the shade structures, shelter pavilions, surfacing, and site furnishings. A little bit of regular maintenance could help make your playground environment last even longer than expected. It’s a good practice to maintain a routine maintenance schedule.

Manage Your Risk

When you properly maintain your playground equipment, not only do you protect your investment, you protect the patrons and children that enjoy the entire playground environment. Playground, site furnishings, or shade structures that are not subject to regular maintenance pose a significant safety risk of malfunctioning causing serious damage and possibly personal injury to children and/or adults. Maintain your community’s or school’s standard of care with proper equipment maintenance.

What to look for:

  • Broken/missing equipment
  • Loose or missing bolts, screws, clamps, or anchors
  • Worse than usual wear and tear
  • Worn down moving parts such as swing chains or spring riders
  • Metals or components that are rusted or worn
  • Protrusions or tripping hazards
  • Cracked slides
  • Large debris around the environment such as trash or broken glass
  • Surfacing that needs repair or replacing
  • Vandalized property

It’s Time to Take Playground Maintenance Seriously

How does your playground score? The National Program for Playground Safety has created a helpful playground report card that is easy to use. Simply print off this PDF, and mark each line with a yes or no. See the PDF or below for the scoring system.

 

A: 20-24 lines answered with “yes” – Wahoo!! Your playground is in good shape. Continue the good work by maintaining a regular maintenance routine on your playground environment.

B: 17-19 lines answered with “yes” – Your playground is good condition, but go ahead and work on the areas with the answer “no.”

C: 13-16 lines answered with “yes” – Your playground is potentially dangerous for children. Please take measures to correct areas that need attention.

D: 8-12 lines answered with “yes” – Children are at risk on this playground. Don’t delay improvements any longer.

F: 7 and below lines answered with “yes” – Do not allow children to play on this playground until repairs have been made.

 

By identifying areas of your playground environment that need attention now rather than later, could mean a child doesn’t get injured. This could be a swing chain that needs tightening, a cracked slide that needs replacing, or a shade fabric attachment mechanism that needs attention. If you see something that you think may need corrective action, say something to the groundskeepers that maintain the outdoor recreational equipment. By spotting these concerns, you could prevent one less trip to the emergency room.

Brett Johnson

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